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Visiting the Banque de France, Hôtel Gaillard, Paris, France: neo-Renaissance splendour by Jules Février, 1878-1882
Opulence and historical memories
This striking neo-Renaissance building in Paris's 17th arrondissement dates from 1878-1882, the work of Jules Février (1842-1937)(1).
Close similarities between the Hôtel Gaillard and the Château de Blois have been noted. The profusion of pinnacles and the building's many mansard windows are some of its particularly distinct features.
The name of the building is derived from its commissioning by banker Emile Gaillard (1821-1902)(2).
Since 1919, the building has been owned by the Banque de France, which has sponsored considerable refurbishments; after the building changed hands, architect Alphonse Defrasse (1860-1939) also worked on the building.
In its heyday as a private residence, the Hôtel Gaillard was the scene of events of great opulence; on one occasion in 1885 2000 guests are reported to have attended a costumed ball at the building.
This begs the question of what does the building symbolize in its associations? On the one hand, having been owned for many decades by the Banque de France, one would hope that it stands for careful economy and accounting. On the other hand, the building's documented past possibly represents a strong current of opulence and even waste.
The Hôtel Gaillard is situated at 1, place du Général-Catroux, Paris (which was formerly known as place Malherbe).
March 14, 2017
(1) Other works by Architect Février include the Edificio Metrópolis, Madrid, which was designed together with his son Raymond Février and completed by Luis Esteve Fernández Caballero.
(2) Emile Gaillard was known for — among other things — being banker to Comte de Chambord, Pretender to the French throne, and to Victor Hugo and as a supplier of lavish entertainment to his private guests.
Some sourcing: Wikipedia
How to get there
United Airlines flies from New York Newark to Paris (Aéroport Paris-Charles de Gaulle), from where car rental is available; however, visitors to Paris may wish to explore the city via its excellent public transport system. The Métro (subway) stop Malherbe is convenient for the Hôtel Gaillard. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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